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Knowledge matters for Year of Education on Station
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 03, 2018

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Teachers are known for going above and beyond when it comes to their students. In the case of astronaut Joe Acaba, this notion can be taken quite literally. The former math and science teacher may have moved on from teaching in the classroom, but he didn't move on from teaching.

About 254 miles higher than any ordinary classroom, Acaba has reached the minds of thousands of students from the vantage of the International Space Station. The orbiting laboratory, a collaboration between countries, serves as a beacon of hope between shared knowledge-and the pursuit of learning.

As the school year began this past September, Acaba, too, found his own expedition taking off. For years, the space station has provided teachers and students with educational downlinks and teaching material. But, for the first time ever, two former educators turned astronauts joined forces to elevate two expeditions into a single mission: a Year of Education on Station.

The Year of Education on Station was born when Acaba and Ricky Arnold joined in a unified campaign aimed at providing both teachers and students with educational materials and opportunities. Some of these events include educational downlinks, where hundreds of students and teachers across the nation to speak directly with astronauts in space. Thousands more will participate through NASA partnerships with companies, learning centers, associations, universities, media organizations and institutions.

"It has been great to be a part of the Year of Education on Station," Acaba said. "I hope that in some way we can help to inspire the next generation of explorers and leaders, and that we can elevate and highlight the teaching profession and its importance to our society. I hope for a future where every student has the opportunity to receive a quality education, and that teachers are empowered and given the tools to make that happen."

During his time aboard the station, Acaba participated in 16 of the 24 downlinks, bringing outer space to students and demonstrating-in what the program calls "STEMonstrations"-science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts such as Newton's Laws of Motion, surface tension and advances in technology. These science demos are then filmed and sent down to Earth for teachers to use in their own classrooms

What's more, 30 years after the Challenger accident, in which school teacher Christa McAuliffe perished, Acaba announced that he and Arnold would film the educational videos that McAuliffe originally had planned to bring to children worldwide.

"I am honored to help celebrate the legacy of #Challenger and #TeacherinSpace," Arnold said in a tweet. "Thank you to our teaching colleagues and many others for keeping the dream alive."

Acaba returned to firm ground on Feb. 27, but he passes the torch of knowledge to Arnold when he launches to station March 21, demonstrating again that one teacher can make all the difference.

In the evocative words of McAuliffe, "I touch the future. I teach."

Related Links
ASA's Year of Education on Station
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

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Cosmonaut, two US astronauts return to Earth from ISS
Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan (AFP) Feb 28, 2018
Two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut returned to Earth on Wednesday, rounding off a mission of more than five months aboard the International Space Station. Alexander Misurkin of Russia's Roscosmos space agency and NASA's Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba touched down on steppe land southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan at the expected time of 0231 GMT. "All descent and landing operations went according to plan. The crew members that have returned to Earth are feeling well ... read more

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